In a relief to the state government, Karnataka High Court on Wednesday gave a green signal to the conducting of Common Entrance Test-2020 scheduled on July 30 and 31.
A division bench, comprising Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice M I Arun, refused to stay the May 13, 2020 notification of Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) announcing the dates.
This came after the state government submitted that 1,84,368 students have downloaded the hall tickets. It said the number indicates that a large number of students will be attending the examinations. To support the argument, the state said that though a first notification announcing the dates was issued on May 13, 2020, a second notification on May 18, 2020 facilitated the students to change the examination centres. Using this provision, 30,000 students have changed their examination centres. The state submitted that the entire state machinery was positive about conducting the examination.
After a detailed hearing, the High Court directed the KIA and state authorities to provide transportation and other logistical support to students as well as their parents, wherever needed, including those staying in containment zones (CZ). The bench also directed the authorities not to prohibit the students from writing the examination, including Covid-19 positive students, for not producing medical certificate and a `risk consent certificate' as pre-requirement under the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Additional Advocate General (AAG) Dhyan Chinnappa said a detailed SOP was formulated for CET by the Department of Health and Family Welfare on July 18, 2020. The SOP has identified the students from outside the state as 'Business Travellers' and hence they are exempted from home quarantine.
A total of 497 examination centres have been set up across the state. As per the SOP, Covid-19 positive students will be kept in a separate room and every examination centre has identified one special room for students who have symptoms of any kind of illness.
"The number of students coming from outside Karnataka is 1,881 and 1,300 students are coming to Bengaluru and the rest to the other parts of the state. The centres have been set up in border districts to enable students to travel the least distance. The other centres are Belagavi, Ballari, Bidar, Vijayapura and Mangaluru to accommodate students from outside the state,’’ the state argued. The AAG also said that the students coming from CZs have been permitted to come out of the CZ along with their parents by showing their hall tickets.
On Tuesday, the court had asked the state government to reconsider the dates in view of drastic change in Covid-19 situation.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior counsel A S Ponnanna argued that the state government has diluted the conditions in the SOP related to CZs issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. He also said that other competitive entrance tests, such as NEET and JEE, also were postponed in view of the drastic change in the situation owing to Covid-19.